Like many pet owners, Lisa panicked at the news that her sweet puppy, Rollie, had gone missing. Lisa had received the phone call at work from her mother, who was at home with the little dog, that Rollie was nowhere to be found. Lisa’s mother jumped in the car, slowly making her way through the neighborhood streets hoping desperately to find the puppy. Each passing minute felt like an hour not knowing which direction Rollie may have gone.

Larimer Humane Society serves an average of eight stray animals, just like Rollie every day. Many animals are brought in by good Samaritans across the community wishing to ensure pets who have gotten away from their families remain safe from traffic, predators, or people who may harm them.

When stray animals come into the shelter, our team works to gather as much information as possible about the pet from the finder. We check for identification tags, license tags, ID tags, and scan for microchips to locate an owner as quickly as possible. The team performs an initial medical exam to identify any illnesses or injuries that may require immediate attention. A round of vaccines is given to protect the animal and other animals in the shelter, and then the animal is taken to a safe, cozy enclosure, and provided with food and water.

Some stray animals are taken into the homes of community members who find them, for safe-keeping until an owner can be located. We highly encourage finders to file a Lost Report with Larimer Humane Society to notify us the pet has been found. The animal can stay with the finder for up to two weeks while Larimer Humane Society works to identify an owner. At any time, the finder may bring the animal to Larimer Humane Society for care and holding. If no owner is found at the end of the stray hold timeframe, the finder may assume ownership of the animal.

Still, other pets are picked up by Animal Protection and Control officers. Wherever possible, officers will work to reunite the animal with their owner in the field, without even needing to bring the pet into the shelter. Ensuring pets have – and are wearing – current identification is critical to the effort of pinpointing an owner.

Larimer Humane Society’s client services team exercises numerous avenues to try and locate the animal’s owner. In accordance with Colorado law, all stray pets must be held for five days in an effort to reunite them with their families. If an owner has not been identified in that timeframe, the animal becomes custody of Larimer Humane Society, or ownership may be assumed by the finder.

In Rollie’s case, identification saved the day. Lisa’s husband received the call from a Larimer Humane Society team member, “They had picked up our pup and since he was microchipped, they had our contact info,” recounted Lisa. “They took such good care of him until I came for him. It was such a relief knowing he was safe and in good hands.”

For Lisa and her family, Rollie’s microchip, with updated information, made a lifechanging impact, illustrating the effectiveness of pet identification and return-to-owner services working together to get pets home. “He’s my baby, so I’m just so thankful for the Humane Society finding him, keeping him safe, and having the ability to contact us!”

If your pet is not yet microchipped, either your veterinarian or Larimer Humane Society can help with this quick and easy procedure. Equally important is ensuring the contact information on your pet’s microchip is updated. Larimer Humane Society also sells licenses (online, by mail, or by phone), and pet ID tags, helping to ensure that if a pet goes missing, they have the best chance possible at being reunited with their loving owners.